And Then . . .

So I just heard from Dr. T  . . .

Yes. Really.

(If you haven’t read my post from earlier this week called “The Sighting,” now would be a good time to catch up.)

I guess he did see me at Whole Foods, because in today’s mail there was a note from him. I saw the local postmark and thought it was a Christmas card from a friend, but then I saw the return address on the back. What the f***! I thought as I opened it.

I should, perhaps, have had lunch first, since my blood sugar really wasn’t steady enough to handle getting a note from Dr. T—after six freaking years. But no. What do I do? Just open up that puppy right away.

Here’s what it said:

Kristi,
Merry Christmas to you, and a Happy New Year. I was surprised to see you at Whole Foods yesterday, and equally surprised by my response. I had only caring feelings for you. It is important to me that you know that I cared for you, tremendously, and that I never, ever meant to hurt you.

WTF??!!

I bawled for the better part of an hour, off and on. (Mostly on.) Even more so since my therapist is on vacation until the middle of January (!!) and I really needed someone to talk to who could hold this in the appropriate context.

All I could think was, What am I supposed to do with this??!!

On the one hand, don’t we all have that fantasy of the genuine apology, the sincere remorse? At one time or another, we craved it more than anything else. And then, eventually, we let go of it ever happening. For what, really, is the value of an apology unless the person actually understands what they did and the incredibly traumatic impact of their actions? Since so many abusers lack the ability to empathize, what is the likelihood of their ever really getting it? Unless they do some deep therapeutic work—or receive some spiritual kick to the head that wakes them up.

In the case of Dr. T, there’s no way for me to know where his message is actually coming from. My need for acknowledgment and validation would say one thing, my fear and anger another. As soon as I try to guess his intentions, interpret the note or tie any meaning to it, I get into trouble.

So I guess I’m just going to have to leave it as it is. Which is insanely hard. Part of me thinks I need to do something. React. Respond in some way. He’s done something, so now I need to do something, right? And I so want to make his note mean something. But the fact is, it’s a piece of cardstock with some words on it in handwriting that I never expected to see again. And I don’t actually have to do anything about it. (I’ll let you know how that goes . . .)

In the meantime, I can once again this week notice that I AM OKAY.

An hour (or so) later, I had calmed down, was thinking (relatively) clearly, and was not exhibiting any symptoms beyond the drop in body temperature, slightly wonky blood sugar, and mild wooziness that I commonly experience after a shock. I felt okay. A bit bamboozled, but okay.

Healing is not about never getting upset or losing it or freaking out. It’s about resiliency. Bouncing back more easily. Getting back to center sooner rather than later.

And I am. And that, more than anything else, is what counts. Even more than a note from Dr. T.

Merry Christmas, y’all!

* * *

12/24/11
As I expected, this post is generating some interesting comments. Rather than reply to each one individually, I’ll post an occasional comment in the stream. Thanks, everyone, for sharing your thoughts!

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38 Comments

  1. Wow, I have been online all day trying to calm my fears and just got off the phone with a crisis line so I thought I was reading this wrong. What the?? I have been so up to date and recall reading the recent Whole Foods sighting but Wow is all I can say.
    Your doing great Kristi. I’m so glad you share with us. I kinda feel guilty now for breaking down on this website and needing a referral and then read this.
    You have really been there guiding me and so supportive.
    I guess my main question of concern is this: I do not know much about the legal system but it does concern me that he contacted you. I guess I would have thought it would have been in some legal agreement that he is to never try to contact you. I don’t know why but that strikes me as being something that should be very normal and standard for anyone that has been in a situation such as you mentioned. I’m stunned but I guess nothing really surprises me too much.
    I wish I knew something else to say but it really helps to take me out of “my fear” and listen to someone else. I’m glad you expressed all your feelings and you continue to share more with us on what the therapist says/recommends.
    I’m glad your safe but sorry you have this note to question. Sounds messed up and wrong but maybe someone else will comment on this.

  2. Stand strong Kristi. He sent you the note because he WANTS you to respond. Don’t do it. It will be much harder for him to NOT know how you feel about it.

    I am still at the stage that part of me believes that he could give me an honest apology. And part of me knows that it would never be sincere, that he isn’t capable of it.

    I will be thinking of you. You aren’t alone.

  3. That “apology” has narcissistic, ego maniac written all over it. He is justifying what he did to you by guising it under “caring” for you. he should have written “I am so sorry i ABUSED you and stole so much from you”

    My abuser “apologized” to me in court. a fake apology so he could get less prison time. he later said that he did not groom me for abuse rather i groomed HIM for adultery. hahaha! what a joke. these losers are all the same. it’s all about them. they care nothing for their victims. they care only when they get caught and they are only worried for themselves when they do.

    so sorry this happened to you. keep up the great work on this blog. merry christmas to you and yours.

    xoxo
    Katie

  4. It’s interesting to be sitting with this. What happened yesterday really rocked my world and sent me into a state of massive confusion. I want to reiterate: I don’t know what this means. Or, more accurately, I can’t know what it means, because I am not him. I don’t know where he’s at in his own process.

    I think it’s always important, in any relationship, to take into consideration that we don’t really know what the other person is thinking or feeling or intending—unless we ask them. And even then, we don’t know for sure. How often do we really know where we ourselves are coming from in our interactions? We know what we believe our intentions to be—or what we want them to be, but sometimes our underlying intentions are completely different. So we end up doing a lot of analyzing and interpreting about other people and where they’re coming from, and we assume that we’re right. But when we do that, all we’re really seeing is our own beliefs and our own view of the world—which we’re projecting onto the other person.

    This is why it’s important to me to try not to read anything into Dr. T’s actions, one way or the other. Because whatever meaning I make is going to be more about me than about him.

    Having said that, I also believe that when we do our own healing work it can open the door for others to heal as well. I have been working on getting beyond my anger to some place of letting go. I do not want to be carrying the weight of this for the rest of my life. It’s too great a burden and my life is too important to me to let what happened bog me down. I want to release it. And part of that is releasing him. I also continue to hold the intention that we both get the healing that each of us needs. I am getting mine, and maybe he’s getting his, too. Who knows?

    So. I’m doing my best to take the spiritual high road on this one. To choose to see it as something positive. No, he probably cannot and may not ever understand the impact of his actions on me and the others involved. This may be the best he can do. So I’m going to choose to believe that his intentions were good. I’m going to try to accept this in the spirit in which I hope it was given and appreciate it. AND — I don’t have to do anything about it. I can feel all my feelings—hope, anger, grief, confusion, gratitude—and not choose one of them to follow or respond from. I know people may think that I “should” be angry. But for me, a sense of neutrality would be the greatest indicator of my own healing.

    If nothing else, I can be grateful for the fact that this has provided me with a step forward in my healing process. Because it’s happened, I now have one less thing to be afraid of. And it again affirms my own resiliency.

    Anyway, that’s where I am today. It could change . . .
    I’ll keep you posted!

  5. Hi, Kristi,
    Congratulations on your extraordinary strength and steadiness. And it’s true — you are NOT alone. I’m aligned with all the preceding contributors, especially Robin. I would NOT respond to him. If past behavior and attitude are any indicator (and they usually are), he’s just trying to find a way to excuse himself, to minimize the damage he’s done. He may be encountering some well-earned damnation from real professionals in his alleged field (hope so) and, thus, is trying to “explain” himself, to himself, to pretend that their damnation is not justified. I don’t mean to project from my own experience onto you (difficult to succeed entirely there), but his line, “I never, ever meant to hurt you,” sounds like a profession of extraordinary ignorance, at best. If he didn’t mean to hurt you, what DID he mean to do??? We know what he is — a user, a liar, a power whore, and a coward; he’s proved that, repeatedly and for years and years. Is (was) he an ignoramus, too? Maybe so. But he deserves no response.
    Kristi, I wish you a WONDERFUL holiday and a BRIGHT and PROSPEROUS new year.
    God bless.

  6. Kristi, I’m glad you’re doing well in all this and the sting is going away.
    I was angry when I read the note’s contents. I’m glad you can put it aside and not respond. Refusing the dance is the best revenge. Happy holidays.

  7. Kristi;
    You must break out of the therapy loop.
    These people have cost you much more than all the money you’ve spent on them through the years, ‘because of them’, could ever buy back, like dignity or simple human respect.
    Take control of your life and learn the safety, power, and piece of mind found in signing a warrant to obtain an order of restraint.
    Take the energy you’ll spend processing what happened to you to expose how unsafe therapy can be.
    I know this will be taken way out of context, but the whole world is not all about you, or me for that matter, but rather the people we can save by exposing the truth of this industry as a whole.
    Don’t get me wrong. Your story, even like mine, is quite important. But the importance lay in what we have learned from what happened to us, and how to stop it from happening to other people.
    Sex in psychotherapy has become implied, and this industry must have regulation and oversight. Learn the power found by taking control of this issue because our stories have become commonplace.
    Tom S. in Tn.

  8. Hi everyone,
    I appreciate your responses to this post. It’s been really interesting—and a bit disturbing—for me to read them. Because what I’m having to sit with is just how angry everyone is. I understand that, of course, but what’s showing up for me is that I no longer feel that degree of anger. So managing the responses to this post has been a bit of a challenge. I think that my story perhaps feels a bit too real to everyone and has activated your own stories and feelings, particularly your fear and your anger, which you have then projected onto me and my situation. In my other posts, this has been helpful and allowed you to feel less alone. But this, now, is my situation, not yours, and I’d like everyone to try to remember that.

    Right now, what everyone is expressing is their anger, and that’s okay. Just understand that it’s your anger and not mine. I just don’t feel that degree of anger anymore. And I’m really grateful for that, because that is what’s making it possible for me to move on in my life and let go of this part of my past.

    Even though I didn’t ask for advice, people are weighing in left and right. For example, several of you have felt the need to tell me not to respond to him, although I never exactly suggested that I was seriously considering it. As I say in the post, I’m realizing that I don’t have to do anything. Which is currently what I intend to do.

    I’m a bit concerned that people are missing the real point of the post, which is less about Dr. T and more about healing and how far I’ve come. I would like to encourage everyone to re-read the second half.

    All along, I’ve tried very hard to use this site for educational and healing purposes and not use it to vilify abusive therapists. If someone else wants to take that on, fine. But it’s not me or who I am. What I’ve wanted to focus on is healing—helping victims to feel less alone, supporting them in their healing process, and offering a forum for them to express themselves.

    Whether you understand or believe this or not, what happened this week was a real gift for me. I have spent the better part of the last six years terrified of running into Dr. T. I’ve been terrified not simply of him and what he would do but also of my own reaction. I’ve been terrified of the feelings I thought I would have when I saw him, scared that I would crumple into a little ball and feel completely helpless or that I would feel indescribable pain and anguish or that my anger would be so overwhelming that it would destroy everything within a one-mile radius. Well, guess what? Now I’ve had a pretty darn close encounter—and none of the things I was scared of happened. Not only did I do okay, but he did, too. He saw me and did not react by angrily confronting me or even by ignoring me. We encountered each other and came out of it okay. And as a result I feel less scared of him—and far stronger and more capable of handling whatever may come in the future. Do you have any idea what a relief that is? That I can face him (nearly) and be okay?? That I can receive a note from him, have a card with his writing on it in my home and not feel like I have to get rid of it — or respond to it? That is HUGE. HUGE! This has been an incredible gift. It shows just how far I’ve come in my healing. Enough that now maybe I really can move forward in my life, which has felt totally stuck in limbo for several years. I really hope you can acknowledge what this means for me and help me celebrate it—focus on me and my healing rather than him and what he may or may not be thinking or intending—which, as I say, none of us can know for sure.

    That’s what I’m focused on. Not him, not the sighting, not the note. Sure, they’re in my thoughts, but my takeaway from all this is how I am. That I am okay. And just how freakin’ great it is.

  9. Those people in Appalachia who play with live snakes during church services, go home on Sunday afternoon feeling spiritually supercharged for not being bitten, while blaming critics for their lack of spirituality and understanding.

    Believe me Kristi, we’re all glad for you that you survived, but a poisonous snake is still a poisonous snake, and still just as dangerous whether he’s in church or at home in the woods.

    Personally, I believe the eloquent words of H. Ross Perot sum it up quite well: Who the hell needs a five star panel of reptile experts when you have a chopping hoe !
    Now that’s power; Tom S. in Tn.

    • damn straight, Tom. and Kristi if you are going to post these things publicly you have to expect any and all feedback. or dont post it. People are going to be angry at this therapist for contacting you. You are analyzing our reactions a little too harshly. again, if you dont want the feedback, then dont post. just my opinion.

      • Hi Katie,
        You’re right—I did post it publicly and I shouldn’t have any expectations attached to what comes back. I was just surprised at the level of anger. Apparently I’ve moved through some of my own anger and hadn’t realized it. I saw my experience as being really positive and I wasn’t expecting what came back. I was actually more upset by people’s responses than by anything Dr. T did. But again, everyone’s reactions reflect their own experiences, fears, and where they’re at in their own process. Their fears aren’t mine and their anger isn’t mine. It’s up to me to not take that personally or to imagine that my experience and feelings should be different than they are. I apologize if I came across in a judgmental way. That was not my intention. I was just trying to understand why everyone else’s reactions were so different from mine.

  10. Kristi, I totally understand what you’re saying because I’ve experienced a good degree of healing myself and with time and understanding AND SITTING WITH YOUR FEARS AND SEEING THAT THEY CANNOT KILL YOU, brings deep healing and understanding of self. Fear no longer controls me. I feel it now, identify WHERE that feeling is coming from, and I sit with that feeling, I even embrace it because it has taught me a lot and served a purpose in my life while I needed it, and then I move on from it, forward ever farther in the journey of healing. Sitting WITH your fears and painful memories, in a quiet, still place can be a healing experience, but it takes time to learn to honor oneself in this way. It is painful and difficult but the healing benefits are amazing. I would encourage everyone who had posted to consider this possibility, I was able to do this kind of work myself with the help of a good cognitive behavioral therapist. I have learned to honor, respect, and love myself, by spending time with myself and all that that has made me who I am, without judgement for past mistakes and behavior, but rather trying to give all things understanding. Giving ourselves grace seems to be the hardest thing of all, giving our abusers grace is just as difficult, but in a different way. Lets all give one another grace and mercy in our healing journeys. Lets not judge, but wait and see the growth and wisdom that comes as time passes with the trials and experiences in our lives.

  11. I think you said it well when you said that none of us can truly know what another person is thinking or intends. For your readers, reading Dr. T’s note pushes us to think “what if that happened to me” and to empathize with you. For me, when I read it, I felt it from where I am in my own process of healing from Mr. S which is only about 9 months out after a 5 year “relationship”. So it is newer and fresher. One of my great fears is hearing from him and how I would react to that. I too, wish for that apology, but at the same time, worry that a note like that would suck me back into his drama. I already spend enough time and lost productivity ruminating on it. For me, right now, no contact is the way it MUST be.

    I am actually thankful for the times that the anger comes. It is like a fire that burns away all the garbage that is left behind from this. The anger feels a lot better than the shame and sadness.

    So for our responses, we are coming at it from our own place of healing. Your words help us to move on and consider our own situations. We relate to you which is why we offer advice. We want to see you happy and healthy. And most of us have a desire to believe that these people (therapists) who we gave our secrets to didn’t abuse us with malice and intent. Personally, I WANT to believe that Mr. S was just led astray by countertransference feelings. That would mean my trust wasn’t totally misplaced.

    I look forward to getting to the place of acceptance, for both myself and Mr. S. But it takes time.

    • Hi Robin,
      Thanks for your comment and perspective. Acceptance does take time, and it can only be reached after you’ve experienced the anger, shame and done major healing work. And that doesn’t mean that once you feel some measure of acceptance you never get triggered or feel those other feelings again! I think it’s an ongoing process and practice. Anger is definitely essential to the process. In the beginning I tried to bypass it—I didn’t think it was “good’ or “spiritual” to have that kind of anger. (Can you tell I grew up in a conflict-avoidant home??) But it is really important to feel it and own it. You have to feel all those feelings in order to move through them and heal. And yes, anger definitely feels a heck of a lot more empowering than shame and hurt and grief! What a relief it is to feel that sense of active power and force after feeling like a helpless victim. I just think it’s important to let yourself move through the anger and not get stuck there. But some people do stay with the anger and then live the rest of their lives there. That may work for them, but it’s not what I want to experience in my life.

  12. Hi Kristie, It seems all of you know each other. I hope it is OK to comment as a first timer, but I couldn’t resist. I must come clean up front and tell you that I got through my relationship with my therapist by inviting him into the process, not through prosecution.

    Perhaps not a popular opinion, but I am happy for you Kristie. I agree with you about the note you received from DrT. I could literally feel the relief and yes, joy in your posting. From here it felt like a huge clearing occurred. What if DrT really truly cared for you? Along with confusion and a complexity of other feelings, isn’t there joy in that? Perhaps I am coming from the opposite side of most of your readers, but that note seemed pretty clean and sincere to me. It is as if your readers are afraid that you will rejoice and leave them alone in their misery, so they attribute the most vile intentions to this note. After reading the note, then the hissing and venomous responses, I’m pretty sure I know whose company I would prefer. (Sorry guys, but as Kristie said, the way out of this is to change your perspective). What if DrT sent you the note to sooth you, to let you know he has no intentions of harming you, that you can walk free in this world without the burden of at least THAT fear….

    It’s OK to care about the guy. Really. It’s OK to take responsibility for your part in it, even if we know that it was HIS responsibility to hold that line, no matter what, and that no matter what he had NO RIGHT to turn to his client to meet his personal needs. Therapists are human though, and wounded. It’s not like we didn’t know that going in, right? Like everything else in life, they only have as much power as we give them.

    I wish the best for all of you, Gia.

    • Hi Gia,
      Thanks for your comment. You are most welcome here in whatever way you’d like to participate. It just so happened that my recent post generated rather a lot of commentary in a short period of time, which is not necessarily typical for the blog.

      I appreciate your perspective on the situation, though I bet it will rattle some cages. I’m wondering if your therapist was one of those slightly more sane members of the therapeutic community who “made a mistake” and slid down the slippery slope into misconduct. Those are the therapists who would be more open to hearing about the client’s experience and more receptive to learning from their “mistakes.” That is a fairly different situation than I (and I think many of my readers) have experienced. We have been dealing with a different breed of therapist—one that tends to be narcissistic and at least somewhat sociopathic (and hence, lacking in the ability to empathize)—a far scarier creature, who cannot be trusted.

      A big part of healing is getting to the point of finally feeling separate and differentiated from the therapist, where what they think and do no longer hijacks us, where we no longer feel “merged” with them. The great thing about my experience with the note is that it really has nothing to do with what Dr. T thinks or feels or wants. I don’t know that he’s had an epiphany (I sincerely doubt it), or even whether he’s capable of genuine remorse. I appreciate the gesture of his sending me the note, but it doesn’t really mean anything. (As I said, what is the value of an apology if the person doesn’t really understand what they did and how it impacted the other person?) If he did truly care about me, it doesn’t really matter, because how it showed up was as abuse. Many abusers claim to love their victims, but that doesn’t change the reality that their actions were, in fact, harmful. So whether he cared about me or not is irrelevant and doesn’t mean anything to me at this point—largely because I no longer feel merged with him, I no longer need anything from him. If he did care, well, it’s pretty sad, isn’t it, that that was the only way he could show it. Actually, I feel sorry for Dr. T, because he apparently is not capable of genuinely loving someone; for him, loving is about control and manipulation. What matters is how I feel and what my own experience is. So the blessing is in my being okay with seeing him and with getting the note from him. I don’t feel entangled to the point of freaking out or needing to respond in some way. I have the power of choice.

      What was interesting was that it was actually much harder for me to separate myself from my readers than from Dr. T. I got hijacked by all the anger and fear and started to question my more positive response. I totally understand where their fear is coming from, because that’s how I used to feel—that paranoia and lack of trust that generates defensiveness and self-protection, which can show up as fear or aggression. What the Dr. T encounter did give me was some relief from that. It was seeing that (a) he wasn’t going to angrily come after me and (b) I would more than likely be okay if I did run into him. I feel much stronger and more capable now. And that is a huge gift.

  13. I think Kristi got it exactly right when she referred to our experiences with “a different breed of therapist — one that tends to be narcissistic and at least somewhat sociopathic,” in contrast to what seems to have been Gia’s experience.

    Please understand that although our experiences likely have many commonalities, Gia, they bear some very significant differences as well. When you write, “Therapists are human though, and wounded. It’s not like we didn’t know that going in, right?” you are mistaken. Not all of us had any such knowledge, going in. Many of us were extraordinarily naive and had been raised to be so. Emotionally, we were only adolescents when we were harmed; in my own case and others of which I am aware, that fact contributed significantly to our being among the “chosen.” And now I’ll trade “we” for “I.” Given all these factors and others, it was impossible for me to have had that knowledge when these things happened.

    The individual who exploited me (and other patients of his) seemed to make a point of selecting targets who had, for example, already been sexually abused in childhood by a parental figure; or who had experienced other repeated traumas from a very early age, ultimately leading to a suicide attempt; even one who, a few years before, had watched a treasured parent convulse and die while a nurse pounded on his chest. And this “therapist” exploited multiple patients in a cultural, historic, and societal environment in which the word “transference” was virtually unknown outside the academic and psychiatric community. So when “transference” occurred and was called “love,” we bought it. The people he harmed often had no support other than what he feigned for them during times when they literally feared for their survival. And all this occurred in a time and place when otherwise perfectly lovely people routinely referred to psychiatric facilities as “the crazy house.”

    I expect that my earlier note in this stream was interpreted as “venomous” and unattractive. Oh, well. But I hope you will understand that my greatest anger now, these many years later, is a healthy and welcome anger. It emerges from my fear (which has a solid base) that the exploiter is now, and has been for a long time, in a professional position from which he can exploit very significant power over other vulnerable people, perhaps in novel ways. And the laws, and the authorities, in the state where it all happened appear to do essentially nothing to protect them.

    An old psych professor of mine once told me that the mark of emotional maturity was the ability to use emotions (even anger) to fuel the achievement of one’s rational goals. So don’t knock anger. It is a vital part of our ability to discern dangers and to work to protect ourselves and others from them.

    Be well, all.

  14. Wow, Kristi! Did you just use me to win your readers back? I feel a little exploited. And don’t worry, there was never any doubt that it is, was and always will be about you. What isn’t, right? Everything you write seems self serving. Most everything you write is to make YOU look good. Hmmm. Are you just using all of us for your own aggrandisement? Talk about narcissism.

    Noun 1. self-aggrandisement – an act undertaken to increase your own power and influence or to draw attention to your own importance.

    Have you ever noticed that the people who protest the loudest have the most to hide?

    No need to reply, I’m outta here!

    Gia

    • Hi Gia,

      I’m sorry that my response to your comment upset you. Now that I’m rereading my reply, I think I can see where you’re coming from. At the time, I was simply responding to you as I had responded to others previously. And I’ll agree—yes, it was about me, because the original post was about my experience and my feelings, which everyone else then weighed in on. Why wouldn’t I want to clarify my experience if I thought someone was interpreting my experience a bit differently than it felt to me? It’s not like I’m writing about some hypothetical person here. Honestly, I felt triggered by what you wrote and the suggestion that somehow it would be reassuring to me if Dr. T told me he cared about me. That I would want that or that it would somehow make a difference. That was not what I felt or was experiencing, and the thought of it freaked me out a bit. In the same way that the others’ anger and mistrust freaked me out. So I responded to that.

      Have you ever had a bunch of people weighing in on your experience? After the comments started coming in, I actually considered removing the post, because I was so freaked out by the responses. It was HUGELY triggering for me. I was more triggered by the responses than I was by what Dr. T did. I found myself feeling incredibly defensive. I think any one of us would, especially given what we’ve been through and how afraid so many of us are about whether or not we’ll be believed or taken seriously. Having someone suggest, “You should be experiencing this, not that…” and invalidating our experience is I think something we all dread. And misinterpretations and assumptions can feel pretty similar. But a commenter reminded me that I had posted my experience on a public forum, and therefore I should expect “feedback”—whether I liked it or not. So I decided to grit my teeth and bear it. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to weigh in on my own experience, with my own opinions. And don’t worry, there’s plenty about me on this site that has felt excruciatingly painful, shameful and embarrassing to write about; I can’t imagine this stuff making anyone look good!

      Anyway, I’m sorry you felt dissed. That was not my intention, and if that’s how it came across, I apologize. I tend to bounce back and forth between pushing people’s buttons and trying to placate them. Still seeking approval, I guess… I definitely still have plenty of stuff to work through!

      I wish you the best.

  15. Wow……all of this is right on re what im going thru still, now. Am soon to do “mandated mediation” after suing my therapist a yr ago. I am scared but functioning ok. i so relate to the deep frustration of dealing psychically with someone that cannot “do empathy”. How long to recover from this i wonder? it has been a yr. I just want mostly that he loses his license. The process seems sooo long. My investigator with the Board has not gotten back to any of us with the status. Think i have your same attorney. He certainly seems likes an experienced upstanding guy. Wonder if the obsesssions will stop after the lawsuit. Tho looks like it may go to trial. Still wonder if i did the right thing for myself in suing. So weird, as he so pathetic…..i forgive one day, so angry the next. Will i be able to ever forget and move on? Sociopaths are sad horrible creatures that seem to never understand their damage.

    • Hi Karen,

      Yes, the process can feel very long. Lots and lots of waiting. I know how hard it is to be patient! It sounds like you’re in the thick of it all right now. The best thing you can do for yourself is to try to accept all the feelings you’re having and not judge them. And understand that your feelings are going to be all over the map—and that’s totally normal and okay! Everyone’s process is different, so there’s really no predicting the recovery process—what it will look like, how long it will take, etc. But you will get through it!

      Hang in there! Feel free to contact me privately through the contact page if you would like to communicate off-line.
      All the best!

  16. Thank u so much. i just may. Knowing im not alone in all this is tremendously comforting. I’ve certainly made strides “intellectually” or “rationally”, but emotionally, of course, i still feel at times like a confused wounded child. Thats exactly evidence of how its like pedophelia, incest. Just the rollercoaster of emotions rather scary, but as you’ve said, i must ride them out. Just didnt think my poor brain/soul would still be “processing” this far down the line. Oh well. i will not judge self and recovery, but love, respect self even more. As an aside to anyone else reading this, would ya believe i have a masters in psychology? It can happen to ANYONE……education has nothing to do with emotional vulnerability.

  17. wondering how you cope with the ambiguous feelings of “not really knowing”—what i mean is ……it was like having a realtionship with a ghost—was it ALL transference? its painful to not know, perhaps ever, if i was relating to calculating predator, or just a severe characterological disordered man who was stupid, careless, and finally got caught? I will never know if there were others before me which is hard , since i am a type who always looks for some truth, answers, reality, to orient myself and my emotions. Some days i can let that go, others, it is beyond difficult. Guess im asking, do u think i can heal without the knowledge? thanks…..

    • I, too, am someone who needs to know and seeks to understand. For a while, I wasn’t sure I could handle the not knowing and worried that it would keep me from fully recovering. But over time, as I went through all my healing processes, those fears subsided. The need to know stopped mattering so much and I felt more able to let it go. It was really freeing for me when I was finally able to let go of that need, and it opened the door to greater healing for me.

      I think part of the difficulty is that we’ve been wired, maybe for most of our lives, to care more about what’s going on with other people than about our own selves. We tend to focus on others and leave ourselves behind. We use others as a mirror and find ourselves through them, rather than through ourselves. And so we end up thinking that what others do and how they behave means something about us. But it doesn’t. What people do and how they behave is about them—their perspective, their needs, their story, their past. It doesn’t really have anything to do with us. Part of the recovery process is coming back into ourselves and focusing on our own lives and feelings and needs, and then accepting all of them. When you are able to come home to yourself and be in your own center, then the actions of other people don’t matter so much because you know who you are, regardless of what anyone else does or says. Now, it’s not like you suddenly get this and everything is magically better! It’s definitely an ongoing practice.

      Ultimately, everything he did was about him, not about you. So try leaving him behind and focusing on yourself instead. Work through your own issues, understand what made you vulnerable in the first place, and then use that knowledge to support you in your life and in your personal growth. But even with yourself, don’t believe that you need to understand everything in order to heal. You don’t. It’s okay to simply let things go. If they don’t “let go,” then there’s still some trauma there that needs to be dealt with. So then focus on that for a while. Healing is kind of a dance. It can be a very cyclical rather than a linear process. And we each have a different path through it. Trust your instincts and find people to work with whom you feel good about.

      Most of all, trust that you will get better—that you are getting better!
      Here’s a phrase that I like to say when I’m not feeling good about where I’m at: I am where I am—and that’s okay!
      Maybe it’ll work for you, too.

  18. Thank u for your time and wise words. I do feel much more centered as months pass. Sleep problems and anxiety still persist tho. But i just watch them, they will not kill me. The mind can be a monster, always wanting definition and answers.` My work now is accepting that i cannot know (or in essence control) everyone’s motives and intentions, and at a point, it must really not matter. If the universe wants to tell me, it will.

    You are also so correct re this “over-empathizing ” aspect I’ll call it. What’s been shocking as this ordeal winds down , is realizing i’m not quite who i thought i was. Almost like being embarrassed to yourself! I thought i was so tough, perspicacious at all times, and lo and behold, look what happened. I was in crisis when went to see him (problems with teen) and was essentially butter within, completely vulnerable and confused. In such a state the over-empathizing or “over-attachment” of course kicked in. It all makes sense re my story.

    He had a different one tho. I can forgive him on a higher human level, but the anger re wasting my time and yanking my psyche around in particular is a slower, harder thing to forgive. It’s not like he was just a “boyfriend” , but a supposed professional who had no business doing such selfish, exploitive, flirtatious acts. Sociopaths (who some theorize cannot be blamed really for lacking the normal empathy skills most of us possess–a tragic, set personality disorder?) are really the hardest types/people to forgive. I just there hesitated writing the word “people”. They really are like animals with bad intent, predators with no love or real interest in love. Very sad to live that way i assume. Honestly, tho, i feel its inexcusable by the age of 62 to not have gotten help or done SOME work so as not to keep harming others, being irresponsible. This is why i am suing, this is why i want his license revoked. Period. Thank u again for listening!!…u really are an angel:)

    • Thanks so much for sharing yourself and your process! I think we all need a place to just lay it all out on the table, and I’m glad I can offer that.
      You bring up the subject of forgiveness. I’ve hesitated to write about it because it’s such a deeply personal process and not something that can be mandated, but I will say this: Forgiveness is never about excusing someone or letting them off the hook. It’s not about anyone else; it’s about you. It’s about accepting that what happened, happened, and letting go of needing things to be different than they were or are. It’s also about letting go of the need for vengeance. That may be the part that takes a while… Forgiveness is not something that can be rushed. I believe it comes when you’ve gotten to a certain place in your healing where you’re okay with letting go. But it may take a while to get there. And it’s always a choice, not a necessity.

      Peace and love to you!

      • Hi Kristi, I’m new on here and trying to catch up on things and making my way around the website.
        I read your story and this update. I didn’t read all the replies to you because I didn’t understand some of them.
        Anyway, I am so sorry that all that has happened to you. I too, was abused & taken advantage of by my former psychologist. It has been many years ago and I realize I may not get completely over the abuse, but I am making progress. But I just want to say that as I read your comments about the growth and healing you have experience, it gave me a good feeling. I am happy for you and want to share that I understand the good feeling inside when we feel that we have had some healing and going forward in our journey. I know, it is so difficult to forgive, but it is also a process and like you say, not something that can be rushed. Especially when the trust and boundaries have been broken.
        I want to thank you for making this website available to us to share our stories and offer support & encouragement. I look forward to visiting with everyone. I am so happy for what healing I have experienced and just I hope I can give some encouragement and support to others.
        I wish everyone a good day! Mags

          • Thanks Kristi! I just noticed the dates on these posts. I thought they were recent, but I see now they were in 2011 & 2012. Oops! :o) I’m smiling at myself because I miss things like that sometimes.
            But anyway, I hope that things are going well for you now.
            Yes, I will continue to explore.

  19. Kristi–the same exact thing just happened to me that u went thru at Whole Foods. Have had a period, months of no communication, waiting for mediation this week which i do not have high hopes for because he apparently has no money. Anyway, lo and behold he passes right by me walking thru an outdoor mall with some haggard looking female. No acknowledgement. Dont know if saw or not. He has always been numb and unconscious but still alert so do not know if he saw me. Felt sick of course and just stood there calmly looking at them from the back walking on. Proud did not respond, but wanted after a minute to follow, confront and say hi–do u know youre with a rapist?! but didnt. A friend who also was exploited by him, tho not sexually, said good control, dont give the attention. Man it took all my strength. Yes, my ego was insulted, or more than that of course. He seemed happy as a clam of course. Just wanted to share. Am a bit re-traumatized u could say. Did he choose to just ignore? again, no answers EVER with such psychopaths.

    • Congratulations on staying centered! It really does take a lot of control—and a lot of healing—to not go into a full-fledged trauma reaction. And to let go of wanting answers or some kind of satisfactory response. Not gonna happen…
      Glad you’re okay!

  20. Hi my love,
    Way past this event now but it triggered me massively reading this and peoples responses to you. I can see why you would want to remove the post after the replies you got, but I want you to know how helpful your posts are to me and it gives me hope that when I am in that situation (because I know it will happen) I won’t hopefully totally freak out. What a terrifying experience for you and you handled it beautifully. I hope I have just a small amount of your clarity and rationality in that situation.
    I truly think people don’t understand the difference between a normal human who has slipped down that slope and the ones who have antisocial sociopathic traits. They are a much more terrifying powerful kind of person.
    Thank you x clara

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